57 detained over ByLock use in İstanbul

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Turkish police teams on Friday detained 57 individuals from various professions in İstanbul’s 32 districts on the grounds that they use a smart phone application known as ByLock.

The detainees are accused by the İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office of being followers of the faith-based Gülen movement, which is claimed by the Turkish government to have masterminded a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016. The movement strongly denies any involvement in the putsch.

Turkish authorities believe using ByLock is a sign of being a Gülen follower as they see the mobile phone application as the top communication tool among Gülen followers.

Tens of thousands of civil servants, police officers and businessmen have either been dismissed or arrested for using ByLock since the failed coup attempt.

The military coup attempt on July 15 killed over 240 people and wounded more than a thousand others. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement.

Fethullah Gülen, who inspired the movement, strongly denied having any role in the failed coup and called for an international investigation into it, but President Erdoğan — calling the coup attempt “a gift from God” — and the government initiated a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the movement from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting them in custody.

According to a report by the state-run Anadolu news agency on May 28, 154,694 individuals have been detained and 50,136 have been jailed due to alleged Gülen links since the failed coup attempt.

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